Your employer is sending you a letter.
Actually, it's more of a form than a letter, letting you know some details about the state health insurance marketplaces created through the Affordable Care Act.
Nearly every working person will receive a letter, even if most people won't use the marketplace to buy insurance. In fact, people who have group insurance or who are on Medicare or Medicaid, plus some others, can't use the marketplaces to buy insurance.
But the law requires any business with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue to notify employees of their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act by Oct. 1. They do not face fines or penalties if they don’t, the U.S. Labor Department said in a recent clarification. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires fines for failing to give some notices, the department said, but not the notices required under the health care law.
The U.S. Department of Labor provides a sample form online. Most employers are filling in blanks with the appropriate information and then distributing them to their employees.
The first page of the sample notice gives a general description of the marketplaces and how they are supposed to work when they go online Oct. 1. The marketplaces are computer systems where people who do not have health insurance can compare and buy policies.
The second page of the form also tells about the health coverage that the employer offers for employees and their families, if any.
The third page of the form is optional, with blanks for more details about the company's 2014 health insurance plans. In the future, employers are to give out similar letters within 14 days of new employees' starting dates.
Employers can distribute the notices at work, by mail or electronically, according to the Department of Labor policies on the notices.